I'm planning to build a step stool on casters than can be easily moved around the room. In the past I've seen store-bought step stools where the wheels automatically lock when weight is applied. I don't know if there's a specific name for this type of wheel, but I haven't been able to find them anywhere online.

(I need to build the step stool rather than buy one already made, because it needs to have handrails for the user to hold onto.)

  • If a user needs handholds on a low single step stool, they probably need a larger diameter base than the usual step stool. We have a light folding step ladder with a handhold. The angle, spacing, and tread size are such that I MUST use the handhold. I cannot balance by bracing my shins on the step above as in a good quality 3-step ladder rated for 250 lb or 300 lb. My point is creative design of these can lead to an unsafe product. – Jim Stewart Mar 14 at 11:30
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    If this is for an elder person, do not do it. We don't want old people falling down. Maybe one of those extended grabby things could be a substitute. – Steve Wellens Mar 14 at 16:40

It appears that the product description you seek is called a compression brake caster. The specifications I've found using those terms in a search indicate the mechanism within causes the brake to activate when weight is applied. I recall a library step stool from my early days in which the entire caster was enclosed in a tubular leg. The mount for the caster was on a spring, which was compressed when weight was applied, causing the load to be held on the cylindrical leg. This does not appear to be the method for compression brake casters.

I would offer links, but there are far too many and would represent product recommendation, considering how many different choices are available.


I would first try either Homedepot.com or Lowes.com. on line before going to the store. They have casters that may work for you. If you go to the store and they do not have what you are looking for, you could order them on-line and pick them up at the store with no delivery charge. You can also check on-line at "accesscasters.com or casterconcepts.com.

Hope this helps.


The wheels could have a toothed gear built into it and be spring loaded. As the load is applied the wheel & gear move and a tooth engages with the gear so the wheel cannot rotate.

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